Expect some very interesting stuff for this season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).
This season’s coaches for The Ultimate Fighter 25 (TUF 25) will be none other than No. 1-ranked UFC bantamweight TJ Dillashaw and division champ Cody Garbrandt. The last time the pair were on the show they were on the same team serving as coaches for Team Faber on The Ultimate Fighter 22 (TUF 22), coaching opposite Conor McGregor.
Since then turmoil has struck the once united Team Alpha Male, as Dillashaw departed from the team in favor of former Alpha Male head-coach Duane Ludwig in Colorado. The move resulted in some bad-blood between Dillashaw and all his former teammates who now consider the once 135-pound champ a traitor.
During his reign as the king of the bantamweight division, Dillashaw collided with former champ Dominick Cruz, who’s injury riddled past had held him out-of-action for a few years, in the main event of UFC Fight Night 81 in January of last year. Dillashaw lost the title via split decision in a razor close five round contest.
Cruz would go on to successfully defend his title in dominant fashion against Urijah Faber, opening up the door for Garbrandt to get the next crack at ‘The Dominator’ in the co-main event of UFC 207 this past December. Garbrandt shocked the mixed martial arts (MMA) world with his unanimous decision win over Cruz, out-classing one of the pound-for-pound greatest of all time with near ease.
That same night Dillashaw put on a masterful performance of his own with a unanimous decision win over knockout artist John Lineker, making him the clear front runner for the next shot at the title. Now the two former teammates will get the opportunity to settle their differences inside the Octagon, after they coach the 25th season of TUF.
During a recent TUF 25 media scrum (quotes courtesy of MMA Fighting) Dillashaw stated that ‘No Love’ should have no involvement in the beef between himself and the Alpha Male team, and pointed to team founder Urijah Faber as being the ‘mastermind’ behind the whole ordeal:
“Cody should have no involvement in this at all,” Dillashaw said. “He was coming in, I was on my way out, for the most part. We were never friends. It wasn’t like I did anything to dishonor him or whatever. I think it’s more Urijah pumping these guys up and continuing to push this trash and build this team, which is money in his pocket. Every guy that fights from there pays him. I think it’s him being the mastermind behind this whole thing.”
“You think you make friendships for a lifetime and they seemed to turn pretty quick,” Dillashaw said. “You’re disappointed with certain people. I wasn’t always close with everyone. I wasn’t ever really friends with Garbrandt. We weren’t really that close. But guys like Justin Buchholz, the head coach, he was always in my corner. Danny Castillo. Guys like that. You really kind of lose a lot of respect for how they’re acting and their friendship you thought you had.”
After having taped some of the series opposite his former teammates Dillashaw believes when the show finally airs their ‘true colors’ will be shown to the entire world:
“I think they’re trying to hype themselves up,” Dillashaw said. “Justin put himself through the hype machine of being the best coach ever. He’s gonna be behind his fighter and do what he needs to do. Maybe when it’s all done and said, we’ll see. But I’ve lost a lot of respect for those guys. They’re showing their true colors throughout this whole thing. It’s gonna be a tough one to figure them.”
Dillashaw has had to deal with the current bantamweight champion’s temper throughout the progression of the show as well, and says Garbrandt will try and fight you rather than speak because he isn’t the best with his words:
“I gotta stay cool, calm and collected,” Dillashaw said. “Really, [Garbrandt is] just gonna make himself look like an ass. He’s looking so hard for a fight. He goes out of his way to be a dick, really. He has to choose which one — either be a nice guy or be a complete jerk. He’s like hot headed. He’s not smart enough to put some sentences together to try to tell you what you’re doing, rather he’ll just try to fight you. It gets aggravating and annoying. Just gotta keep your cool and stay professional. I’m a professional athlete. I got hired to do this job as a coach and I’m gonna hold myself this way, lead by example.”
In the build-up to their inevitable meeting after the conclusion to the tournament, Garbrandt has been throwing out that there is actually footage of him knocking out Dillashaw during a sparing session back in their Team Alpha Male days. While no such footage has come to light after the accusations, Dillashaw has repeatedly denied that tape’s existence.
Despite the rumor Dillashaw says Garbrandt knows who truly got the better of who when they clashed in the practice room, and is looking forward to showing it when they get their hands on one another inside the Octagon:
“They can post the video of whatever happened in a split second, but we all know know how the majority of practices went down,” Dillashaw said. “I know how I feel and I know that I’m the better fighter and I was the one putting it on him the majority of the time. Everyone’s got their days, but I’m by far the better fighter in that room.”
TUF 25 is giving fans the opportunity to see the true colors of all involved in the whole Team Alpha Male beef situation, and Dillashaw couldn’t be more grateful for the platform:
“I could make my point, I could tell the truth,” Dillashaw said. “True colors will be revealed. … I think it’s gonna be a great thing.”
Who do you think will emerge victorious when Dillashaw and Garbrandt meet inside the Octagon?